18 August, 2006

Where are the Arab Peace Keepers?

Now that there is peace in Lebanon, the pointing game begins. Which country will send troops to be part of the Peace keeping Operations? Western countries are not too keen to send any of their troops to be part of the Multi National Peace Keeping Force under UN Command.

All throughout the last month we saw the media and several governments from the Middle East call for peace and an immediate stop to the massacre in Lebanon. Generous amounts of cash and aid have been sent to Lebanon – Kudos for that! But in the end money does not solve problems.

Why is there no Arab nation willing to send in Arab troops as part of the UN peace keeping force? The European countries definitely don’t want their soldiers in the middle of a tense No Man’s Land! And why should they? Do we decry them for their hypocrisy? Stone them? But I ask, where are the armies of the Middle East? The last time we saw them in action was the First Gulf War, on a joyride into Kuwait after the US bombers had the Iraqis running for cover back to their homes. According to rough estimates there were 250 000 troops in the first Gulf War from Arab countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and so on.

Truth is, the only UN peace keepers in the Lebanese – Israeli border are from India and Ghana. India has the fourth battalion of the Sikh Regiment serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFL) along with a battalion of the Ghana Army.

According to the latest figures from the UN, the only countries from the Middle East contributing any personnel to the Peace Keeping Operations world over are as follows: Egypt- 931, Algeria– 15, Iran -3, and Jordan– 2798. So where are the others in the Middle East?

A Countriy as small as Nepal has 3510 troops. Even so called developing countries have troops in the peace keeping operations of the UN. Pakistan-9797, Bangladesh-10126, Sri Lanka-1011 and India–9290. Surprise, surprise! Uruguay has 2598 personnel in UN operations. (UN Monthly Report of Peace Keeping and Civilian Forces)

It is about time that some of these armies went and did a tour of duty. After all it is only a peace keeping force and some of the armies can actually see what a war zone looks like. They can use some of their heavy machinery in new terrain and help the Leanese people in rebuilding Lebanon. If this region wants to play an important role in world equations – it not too late! It can start by handling its own backyard problems and that too a peace keeping role.

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.”

- Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama


Anonymous said...

I've wondered the same thing. Why aren't the nations who are so quick to condemn Israel now willing to send troops to help their "brothers" in Lebanon? The UAE government and the people living here have been generous with donations and material help, but why not send a few thousand troops to help out?

bandicoot said...

I doubt that Israel would approve peacekeeping forces from Arab or Muslim countries on its borders. On the other hand, it's the absence of any contribution of such forces from the UK and the US that is so conspicious (again assuming it'll be accepted by both sides).

Seabee said...

That's right bandicoot. Israel is saying it won't accept Indonesian or Malaysian troops as part of the UN force, or from any countries with which it doesn't have diplomatic relations.

Anonymous said...

The last quote sums up the post “If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.”

If the arabs cannot be peace keepers in Lebanon due to technical reasons why not any other region in the world?

Again why do you want more US and UK troops? And if you see the list they have a few hundred troops which is more than zero from this part of the world.

So you want the world to be bothered about peace here become peacekeepers elsewhere.

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